40 Years in America


Heather Thalheimer

The thing that characterizes my story of deprogramming was fear. I was afraid to lose my faith. I didnít think my faith was that strong at the time. It happened in 1980 or 1981. I joined in í79. I was new. I was sent out to CARP from Oakland. I didnít know very much then.

I was pioneering with another sister, and we had an apartment. The deprogrammers told me later we were the laziest moonies theyíd ever met. They followed us for a while. We were hanging around in coffee shops.

The deprogrammers pretended to be witnessed to by the other sister whom I lived with. They came home with her and grabbed me at the door and shoved me in a car. They called the regional leader and some members came back with the police later. They said to the landlady, "Didnít you see anything unusual? Didnít you hear her screaming?" The landlady said, "I thought it was one of your people changing her mission."

They took me to a house and kept me in a room. I thought, how can I protect my faith? How can I keep from losing my faith? How do people get deprogrammed? The key to losing your faith is resentment.

They would play on that. I knew I needed to get in touch with resentments before they did, and protect myself from that. They were fishing for things. I needed to look inside myself, for my own weak points. They tried to find things out about me.

They wanted me to give a testimony. I thought if I gave my real story, they might find out my weakness or resentment, so I gave an alternative testimony to protect myself. They told it to my parents, and my parents didnít recognize that it wasnít me. I was so sad that they didnít understand that it wasnít me. I was deeply hurt. It was about my life before; I made up a story about what I was like.

They would play taped negative testimonies from ex-members. They talked about all their hardships. I tried to hear the deep part of it. All the stories were about the MFT. I was in CARP and knew nothing about Mr. Kamiyama. The deprogrammers couldnít tell me about Tiger Park. In my mind he was the ultimate leader. He was one of the best people. You couldnít accuse Tiger Park. I kept saying I didnít know this Mr. Kamiyama. The deprogrammer yelled at me, "Youíre not a Moonie. Youíre a CARPIE!!!"

I knew I had to get out of there. I didnít think I was going to last. I knew that God liberated Father from Heung Nam Prison. Father set conditions, so I set conditions. Heung Nam looked impossible to get out of, but Father did. So I fasted and prayed.

My parents freaked out because I was fasting. They saw that I wasnít eating and they got very upset. I knew real loneliness through that. My parents didnít understand me. I tried to cooperate. I decided to be reasonable and listen to what they said, if they would listen to me and let me share what I believe. They said no, youíre brainwashed and you donít know what youíre saying. I had no voice. I had no power. I knew what it was like to be imprisoned. They blocked out the doors and windows. I could see through a crack, and I saw a blade of grass outside. I longed to touch life, to be out there. I felt I could understand a little bit of Fatherís life in prison through that. How lonely it is to be misunderstood, and to have everything you say to be considered meaningless.

The deprogrammers have all the power, and you donít know what theyíll do to you, or if theyíll harm you. I prayed for strength for God to liberate me. What happened in the end was, I asked, what weapon do I have? I realized that I could frustrate them. They would deprogram me in rounds. They took turns, a couple of hours at a time. But I never got a break. I would wait until they would be at a fever pitch about something. They would say, "You can have whatever you want here. But with the moonies you canít." So I would wait until they were ranting at me, and I would say, "Can I have some chocolate ice cream?" It would make them so mad. They had to get it because they were supposed to be nice and the moonies were supposed to be mean. They told my parents, sheís too brainwashed. They knew they had to give me whatever I asked for since they were saying that the moonies wouldnít give me what I wanted. So I would make a ridiculous request to make them keep their word.

I was on day three or four of a fast; I had difficulty doing a seven-day fast. But then everything went crazy. Total turmoil. The deprogramming took place in Texas. It all ended when a tarantula crawled out from under the bed and bit a deprogrammer and he had to be hospitalized.

They said I was the most selfish, brainwashed brat they had ever dealt with. The worst, etc., moonie they had ever met. They were going to have me deported back to England. My father got possessed then, he was so mad. He finally said, "Youíre not in charge here, I am.

Get out of here. I paid you, get out of here." So I was left alone with my parents. They said, "We want to spend three days with you before you go back to the moonies." I told them, that I wanted to go to church. They took me to a little church. They sang, "Let There Be Peace on Earth." I started weeping; it was incredible to be in a spiritual environment being nourished again. I was so depleted, and I cried. If they knew how vulnerable I was at that moment, they could have done lots of things to deprogram me. But they didnít know. I was bathed in Godís love in the church.

My parents were so insensitive. They said, "We can go on vacation together." I had just been through the wringer and they wanted to go on vacation. I said, "Okay." I knew I had gotten a spiritual victory on some level.

My mother took me to a department store to buy some clothes. I heard a voice, "Here is my daughter in whom I am well pleased." I heard it, like trumpets and fanfare. In the department store there was this fanfare. I realized I owned everything. I had a spiritual victory. I felt like I owned everything. I was Lord of Creation. I was so spiritually open. I would eat food and feel it was alive. For three days I felt like there was a spiritual announcement that I was there.

My parents brought me back to the Austin, Texas center, and they left. The CARP leader wanted to get me out of the state. He thought they might change their minds and try to kidnap me again. CARP wanted to send me to Oklahoma. I had heard all this crap about MFT. I was afraid if I didnít get to see everything, it would bother me until I saw it for myself. I prayed to God, and I asked them please show me about MFT.

My leader dropped me off at the MFT center. I felt, at the entrance to the bedroom: I am unworthy to enter here. I went to sleep and I thought the people in this room are so holy. I thought, we donít know the value of people on MFT. I felt like God was saying, this is what MFT means to me, forget everything that was said to you.

The next morning there were two sisters who were left behind in the center. They had been on MFT about 10 years and they were left behind for a rest and recreation day. They were so Abel, so grateful, and holy and Godly. God seemed to say to me, "This is what MFT means to me."

Then they sent me out to pioneer a CARP center in Oklahoma. I had not recovered from the deprogramming ordeal, and yet, I had to witness by myself, doing 21 surveys. An MFT team stayed with me at my center. The Commander asked me to stay in the mornings for a week while they had their meetings. He invited me to their morning services, which were really inspirational. He asked if I would help serve breakfast, and attend his meeting with the captains. They said things like, "What can we do for so and so? Sheís getting older, how can we take care of her?" They had real, heartistic concern for their members, which was the exact opposite of what the deprogrammers had said.

Theyíd come back at 11 pm from fundraising and mat pictures until 2 am. They were so bright and happy. I would stay up and help them. God was trying to show me, this is MFT.

About a year later, I saw a brother whoíd been on the team. "You donít know what that time meant to me. I went through a deprogramming, and you were always so heavenly."

He laughed and said, "I was so NEGATIVE then." But I wasnít privy to the more down-to-earth experiences then. It encouraged me that God speaks to us and provides answers through situations like that. This brother had his own situation but God used them to encourage me.

I learned that when we hear unsettling things, we need to pray so God can reveal His perspective. God spoke to me through situations like that to help me answer questions. Now when I hear things, I remember this lesson, so... I donít jump to conclusions about things.

I was spiritually weak, and through ignorance no one took care of me. I needed a workshop, but God took care of me. People werenít aware. A couple of years later I was in a center in Washington, D.C. ... and I realized I could look at a picture of True Parents forever and not worry about them. I could look and not be afraid of what I might find out. After the deprogramming I was cautious. I needed to restore the innocence. When people have been damaged, they need to be nourished. It is really deeply evil, destroying innocence in peopleís hearts. It takes time to restore that innocence again. When something like that happens to people, we need to take care of them, and heal them again.

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